Marco Gonzales did his part for the Mariners on Monday afternoon.
Lance Lynn did his just a little bit better for the Chicago White Sox.
Lynn struck out a season-high 11 and the White Sox snapped the Mariners’ seven-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory in the opener of their three-game series before a Labor Day crowd of 37,109 at T-Mobile Park.
“We’ve been on quite a run here in the last week or so,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “But we ran into a really good starting pitcher today.”
The Mariners rallied in the ninth inning against White Sox closer Liam Hendriks. Mitch Haniger singled to lead off the inning and later scored on J.P. Crawford’s clutch two-out, two-strike single to right field.
Pinch runner Sam Haggerty, on the move from first base on the 3-2, two-out pitch to Crawford, got the stop sign from third-base coach Manny Acta. The throw home from right fielder Adam Engel pulled catcher Yasmani Grandal about 10 feet up the first-base line, but even if Haggerty had been given the green light it wasn’t clear he would have been able to beat the throw.
Hendriks then struck out pinch-hitter Adam Frazier on three pitches to end it, stranding Haggerty at third and Crawford at second.
Servais said Acta made the right call in holding the runner at third.
“You put Haggerty in — and ‘Hags’ is probably our fastest pace runner — for that exact purpose, if there is a chance to score him there,” Servais said. “But it is a really tough call. It’s a soft single right in front of the right fielder, who has a good arm. You’re putting all those things into play and it’s happening super fast. So I don’t fault anybody there at all.”
The Mariners (76-59) dropped back into a tie with Tampa Bay (75-58) for the top spot in the American League wild-card race, just a half-game ahead of Toronto (75-59).
After arriving home around 3 a.m. Monday from Cleveland, following a 6-0 road trip, the Mariners couldn’t muster much offense against Lynn, Chicago’s robust right-handed veteran.
Lynn allowed just three hits and one unearned run over seven innings on a day when the afternoon shadows were clearly an issue for hitters.
Lynn, who was drafted by the Mariners out of high school in 2005 but didn’t sign, has a 1.42 earned-run average in his past five starts.
“The offenses were having a little tough time; the shadows were ugly early,” Lynn said. “So that helps the pitchers for sure. I knew that they were going to have trouble seeing the ball. So I just went and attacked and it worked out well.”
Cal Raleigh doubled, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on an Abraham Toro bloop single in the second inning for the Mariners’ first run.
Lynn retired the final 17 batters he faced.
Gonzales (10-13) took the hard-luck loss after allowing three runs over seven innings. He delivered a quality start when the Mariners needed it, a day after using all nine pitchers out of their bullpen in an 8-hour, 11-inning, rain-delayed victory in Cleveland.
“You can feel it after the (Sunday) night game,” said Gonzales, who flew back from Cleveland on Saturday to rest up for his start Monday. “I know what I needed to come out here and do today — just try to keep us in it and try to get deep in the ballgame and give the boys down in the bullpen a breather.”
A.J. Pollock hit a first-pitch homer on a Gonzales changeup in the second inning.
Veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus hit a two-run home run to right field in the third inning to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead. Haniger, battling the sun, leaped at the wall to try make the catch, only to have the ball ricochet off the tip of his glove and bounce over the wall.
“Two mistakes (on) two pitches, that really was the difference today,” Gonzales said. “Other than that, I really felt good with a lot of my stuff.”
Andrus, released by Oakland on Aug. 17 and signed by the White Sox two days later, has hit 11 home runs of the season — and five of them have come against the Mariners.
“I’ve faced Elvis a ton, and every time it seems like it’s an 11-, 12-pitch battle,” Gonzales said. “Hat’s off to him. He’s a great hitter. He’s been great for a long time.”
Ex-Mariner Kendall Graveman struck out Toro — a year after they were traded for each other — to open the bottom of the eighth inning. Jake Lamb grounded out after a 13-pitch battle.
With two outs, Julio Rodriguez singled on a 2-2 pitch from Graveman, ending a stretch of 19 consecutive outs by Mariners batters.
Ty France followed with a high fly ball to left field that immediately looked like it had a shot to leave the yard — only to be caught by Pollock on the warning track, ending the inning.
“I thought it was a home run, I gotta be honest with you,” Servais said. “But he didn’t get it all.”
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